Imagine a forest fire, raging out of control. Each time the wind shifts, the fire’s path changes. On an incline, the fire spreads more quickly. In a situation like this, experts are consulted to analyze many factors, such as fuel type, fire-weather conditions, topography, and human activity. They then present a plan for the “best chance” at controlling the situation that can change within minutes.

Extreme poverty can be compared to a forest fire as a multitude of factors can change overnight, tipping millions into poverty. In 1990, the World Bank defined extreme poverty as…

Many people that donate to non-profit organizations or charities often wonder where their money actually goes. The common question, “What percentage of my money goes towards supporting the organization’s mission as opposed to administrative costs?” often arises. At Thrive we are happy to share that 100% of your donation goes towards our projects and programming in Africa. Therefore, your money is going directly into creating…

Much of the thinking behind the worldwide Organic Health Movement revolves around the power of seeds and the plants that they produce. When looking at the natural world, we realize that almost everything is started with a seed.

Where Does Your Poo Go?

Sunday was World Toilet Day. For those of us from the west, this sounds like a strange thing to draw attention to. But for us at Thrive, thinking about toilets and the poo that goes into them grabs our attention. Continue reading to find out how poo can actually be used to help the extreme poor.

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation which is more than 35% of the world’s population. Specifically, 6 in 10 Africans live life without a proper toilet.

As many as 7,500 people die daily due to lack of sanitation and 5,000 of those are children under the age of five. Today, more people die from poor sanitation than from the measles, malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. This is because poor sanitation can release a legion of diseases.

The Value of Poo

For hundreds of years, the Chinese have been using human waste to fertilize their fields, increasing food output. This idea combined with 21st-century science could be the answer to helping the poor.

At our training center in West Africa, we have been using this idea and making the best fertilizer. This fertilizer is created from our students’ waste by using our compost-making toilets.

Studies suggest that the average person consumes approximately 1000 pounds of food or more over the course of a year. Using our compost-making toilets, these consumption rates would allow us to produce 200 pounds of high-quality fertilizer. As a result, this would make growing disease-fighting foods a lot easier.

Use Poo By Creating Special ToiletsCompost-Making Toilets, Poo

The process is fairly simple. There are two different models of rural, low-cost compost toilets. The first method involves separating the solids and the liquids as they are treated differently. The solids are kept in the tank for 6-12 months. After this time period, it turns into valuable “black gold.” The liquid is stored in pails which are placed in the sun for a month. Then the liquid is used as an activator for compost piles.

The second method involves digging a hole that is approximately 4 ft deep. A temporary shelter is then placed over it to create a bathroom. When the hole is 2/3 full, a new hole is dug nearby and that dirt is used to fill the first hole. The shelter continues to be used with each new hole. After the first hole has been filled for 6 months, it can be used as fertilizer. The material can be removed and used in gardens or a tree can be planted directly into the hole.

Poo Could Extend Life

After a decade of creating disease-fighting gardens, we have discovered something. When the soil has 10% organic material it becomes full of life. The best organic growers are always looking for sources of high-quality organic material. I would think poo if treated properly, could easily qualify.

On average, Africans die 1/3 to 1/4 sooner than westerners because of poor diets and water. That reality could motivate them to look for solutions that are practical, like turning their human waste into high-quality fertilizer.

Therefore, poo can be a resource that can be utilized rather than being mishandled, causing disease or death.  

Check out our website to see how low-to-no-cost composting toilets are built. We think the designs are great! In order to get people to use them, we have to show them how it can change their personal lives in a big way.

Compost-Making Toilets, PooCompost-Making Toilets, Poo


Project Information Story

Visitation and Inspection of 2 Month-Old Pokot County Project, Kenya, East Africa

Mamas Take Over the Land

On August 22, the Thrive international team set out on a journey to the Pokot County project that was established in June 2017. Mr. Boaz Oduor, Mr. Jacob Latodo and Mr. Francis Lotte tagged along and joined the adventure. This project flourished as it had a variety of plants such as moringa, kale, tomatoes, onions, and beans. Mamas ran the show with the help of only a few men. This group used solid, steel fencing to protect their precious plants from hungry livestock that surrounded the area. Colourful garden beds and one keyhole garden covered their land. Overall, the plants were growing well and produced delicious foods for all the members.

Pokot County Project Mama Working Hard

A Trip Down a Rocky Road, Pokot County

Travelling a far distance down a rocky road, the Thrive group arrived at a second project. Here the gardens were over following, the double dug beds were very rich and there were no signs of the most recent drought. While all seemed well, the Thrive team immediately noticed a major flaw – this beautiful garden was too far away from the road! This was an issue because the works of the members’ hands could not be seen by any bystanders. Unfortunately, due to its distance, this project wasn’t able to motivate others in the community to start their own gardens. Therefore, the community would need to be encouraged in a different way. 

Pokot County Project

Males Chat While Mamas Work

Quickly the Thrive team observed that this project ran much differently than others. As shown in the picture below, the Mamas took charge and did all of the work in the gardens. Meanwhile, the males would sit and talk under a shaded tree. This was odd for the Thrive inspection staff to see given that the men had the strength to work and help in the gardens too. Obviously, this worried the Thrive staff as they know how important it is for everyone to be involved so that they know how to complete each step.

Pokot County Project Mamas Working

Pokot County Project Awarded with Tools for Success

Once the group was gathered, Mr. Boaz spoke a message that was filled with motivation. He encouraged them to continue their hard work and project success. Boaz rewarded them with new farming tools that could help them maintain the excellence of their project. The new tools brought joy to their eyes, smiles to their lips and excitement to their actions.

Pokot County Project Gets Tools

Keyhole Gardens Created with Natural Resources

This intelligent team collected locally available materials and created a keyhole garden. Their actions showed that not everything had to be bought. God’s creation provided them with a variety of tools and materials that they graciously used for free. 

Pokot County Project Keyhole Garden

Success Covers Up Struggles

In summary, the people involved in this project were very thankful, nice and happy. Furthermore, it was hard to imagine that they were struggling with food scarcity and malnutrition. Overall, it was observed that they fully dedicated their time to this project as they understood its benefits. As the group left, they extended their thankfulness for the Thrive organization. They were thankful that they are able to grow their own food, that they are growing health and creating disease-free communities.

Pokot County Project Success

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Ed Jay Espinosa

Where Is Your Gaze?Thanksgiving

Everyone enjoys the time of the year when we slow down and reflect on the good things in life. So often our gaze is only on what is up ahead. The holiday of Thanksgiving helps us to slow down.

During this time, I reflect on the last forty years where I have been trying to help create change in developing countries. If I am honest, for the first thirty years there seemed to be little results for the time and money invested. Thankfully, over the last ten years Thrive has been excited to see 21st-century organic growing practices and natural medicine be birthed in the poorest communities.

Our 5 day Growing Health workshops started many groups down the road to a more secure future.

Thankful for HIV Group Success

Organics 4 Orphans Thanksgiving HIV GroupQuickly, we saw so many testimonies of personal health improvements that we wanted to validate some of the results. With the help of a naturopathic doctor, Elise San Tiago, we identified an HIV group to do a month-long study in 2010. All that we asked of them was to consume a large bowl of various greens that was supplied. Each week, for a month, their immune system was measured to see what change had occurred. Almost without exception, we saw a doubling and even tripling of their immune strength.

The best news though is that 25 out of the 28 suffering with HIV are still alive. This has encouraged us to train many HIV groups and individuals with programs that cost only a few pennies per day.

Changes Need to be Made In Order to End Extreme Poverty

On Sept 13, 2017, Bill Gates stated that the global plan to end extreme poverty by 2030 was failing. There are many reasons for his statement, but we do know that if the same amount of money had been spent on empowering communities to Grow Health all villages would be more secure.

Therefore, we are so thankful during this season that there is a solution today for the one billion people who struggle to get enough food, have little to no traditional medical care and whose life expectancy would probably be cut short by a third. They can actually have a future now.

We are also very thankful for the people who financially partner with us. For as little as $1.30 a day, whole communities can begin to tackle their own health challenges.

If you are not part of this 21st-century solution, consider joining with us!


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Dale Bolton